The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Thursday, March 4, 2021


West Virginia outsider artist has unique DNA signature
Female Portrait Study on Old Sheet Music / Cardboard.



NEW CUMBERLAND, WV .- The term “outsider art” originated by Roger Cardinal, an art scholar from Canterbury, England in his 1972 book tilted “Outsider Art.” Almost 50 years later, the term referring to visual artists without formal training is still in controversy and often debated. Outsider art is commonly in reference to folk, naïve, art brut, primitive, compulsion, or raw art. Call it what you may, this category of art is becoming highly collectible and increasing in value in the art world, including major auction houses including Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

In some instances, outsider artists are as unique as their paintings; some suffer from disorders, some spend their whole life creating art not viewed by anyone. But many “Outsiders” create art that can rival traditional art created by artists with high pedigrees.

One such outsider artist gaining popularity is Mike Swartzmiller, a listed artist from West Virginia. Since 2002, Swartzmiller has signed all his painting with a unique “DNA” signature. His signature is just his last name; the uniqueness lies underneath the signature, as he adds small snippets of his hair. The hair, slightly visible, doesn’t detract from his one-of-a-kind works of art and provides an additional layer of authenticity.

Besides the unique signature, Swartzmiller has always experimented with different, up-cycled mediums such as advertising cardboard, ceiling tile, old stock certificates, and old sheet music. Presently in 2020, Swartzmiller’s “eBay Only” cardboard art series has exploded with over 600 painting being sold in a row through eBay auction listings. All 600 paintings were created on up-cycled advertising or raw cardboard boxes.

With scientists closing in on breakthrough forensic methods of DNA identification through hair samples, the original Swartzmiller painting you purchase today contains the ultimate provenance and authenticity for tomorrow, just look under the signature.










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